Jan. 11, 2008
CHARGERS CB Antonio Cromartie A CANDIDATE FOR
2007 GMC DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR HONORS
Fans To Vote For Winner On NFL.com
The National Football League today announced the five finalists for the 2007 GMC DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR award.
2007 GMC DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR FINALISTS
ANTONIO CROMARTIE Cornerback San Diego Chargers
PATRICK KERNEY Defensive End Seattle Seahawks
BOB SANDERS Safety Indianapolis Colts
MIKE VRABEL Linebacker New England Patriots
MARIO WILLIAMS Defensive End Houston Texans
Fans can vote for one of these five players on NFL.com from 12:00 PM EST on January 7 through 3:00 PM EST on January 23 to determine the 2007 GMC DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR.
The winner will be presented the 2007 GMC DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR award during a press conference in Arizona, the site of Super Bowl XLII.
The five finalists were selected for their outstanding performances throughout the 2007 NFL season. Each week, five nominees were chosen for GMC Defensive Player of the Week and NFL fans voted for the winner on NFL.com. Those results were used to help determine the finalists.
Following is a closer look at the five 2007 GMC DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR finalists:
Antonio Cromartie (San Diego Chargers) – Cromartie finished the 2007 season to lead the NFL with 10 interceptions, helping the Chargers lead the NFL in interceptions (30), total takeaways (48) and a turnover ratio (+ 24) and in opponent passer rating (70.0). Cromartie recorded all 10 of his picks in the last 11 games of the season, including a career-high three against Indianapolis (11/11) which was one of three multi-pick games of the season. Cromartie returned one of his interceptions 70 yards for a touchdown against Houston, and he also had an interception in the end zone on a pass intended for Reggie Wayne against Indianapolis (11/11) (the Chargers won that game by two points). On 12/2, Cromartie had two interceptions in the end zone, preventing 14 Kansas City points in a game the Chargers won by 14 points, 24-10. Cromartie was nominated for two GMC Defensive Player of the Week awards, winning once.
PATRICK KERNEY (Seattle Seahawks) — Seattle’s signing of Patrick Kerney is during the offseason paid off as Kerney led the NFC, and was second in the NFL, with 14.5 sacks in 2007. He tied his career-high with 3.0 sacks each vs. Chicago and at St. Louis. At the Rams, he also came up with his first interception of the season, which was also his third career pick. He is the first player since Dwight Freeney in 2004 to record back-to-back 3+ sack games. He also recorded another 3.0 sacks vs. Arizona, giving him three 3+ sack games this year. Kerney had a big game Week 11 against Chicago when he made five tackles, had three sacks and forced one fumble, stripping the ball from QB Rex Grossman with 5:55 left in the game to secure the win for Seattle. Kerney was nominated for two GMC Defensive Player of the Week awards.
BOB SANDERS (Indianapolis Colts) – Sanders led a Colts secondary this season by totaling 96 tackles, 3.5 sacks for 17 yards, six defensed passes, one fumble recovered and two interceptions for 32 return yards. Sanders’ sack total was tied for second on the Colts. Sanders fronted a defense that led the NFL in fewest points allowed (262) and ranked second in pass defense (172.8) and third in total yards per game (279.7). Sanders consistently energetic and effective play enabled the Colts to reach a 13-3 record and earn the number two seed in the AFC. Sanders started 15 games at strong safety and had three double-digit tackle outings. Sanders had a big game Week 2 at Tennessee, when he made 11 tackles and had 2.5 sacks to beat the Titans 22 – 20 in Tennessee. Sanders was nominated for one GMC Defensive Player of the Week award.
MIKE VRABEL (New England Patriots) – Mike Vrabel led a Patriots defense that ranked fourth in the NFL in allowing only 288.3 yards per game and only 274 total points (17.1 points per game) to help the team achieve an undefeated regular season of 16 – 0. Playing in all 16 games, Vrabel recorded 12.5 sacks and made 77 tackles, including 55 solo tackles. He also posted three different games with 2+ sacks. Vrabel had a big game Week 8 against the Washington Redskins, in which he made 13 tackles (11 solo) and had three sacks. He also forced three fumbles on each of his three sacks, the third of which was run back by LB Rosevelt Colvin for a touchdown. To top it off, Vrabel also fielded a Redskins onside kick in the fourth quarter. Vrabel was nominated for two GMC Defensive Player of the Week awards, winning once..
MARIO WILLIAMS (Houston Texans) – Williams finished the season with 59 tackles, 14 sacks for 82.5 yards, two forced fumbles, one pass defensed and one fumble recovery that he returned for a 38-yard touchdown. Williams finished tied for third in the NFL and set a franchise record with 14 sacks, accounting for 45.2% of the Texans sacks (the highest percentage of team sacks in the NFL). In six straight games, from 11/18 – 12/23, Williams totaled 10 sacks, the most by any player over a six game stretch this season. He is also the only player in the NFL to record a sack in six consecutive games. Williams had a big game Week 1, when he made five tackles, two sacks and returned a fumble in the third quarter for a 38-yard touchdown in the Texans’ 20-3 victory over the Kansas City Chiefs. Williams played the best game of his career against Denver when he totaled 3.5 sacks against QB Jay Cutler. Williams was nominated for two GMC Defensive Player of the Week awards.
This is GMC’s third year as the official vehicle of the NFL and the first year that GMC will present the Defensive Player of the Year award.